This morning we’re at Powering Down: Leading through vulnerability led by Selina Stone.

She’s challenged us to

  • Think about a time when you have shared something personal with a person you were leading …

Or

  • Think of an occasion when a leader you looked up to shared something personal with you …

How did that moment impact your relationship?

 

Following on if we believe sharing life is really important, why do we find it so hard to do. If we believe it to be a key thing to be vulnerable and open with young people why is it such a challenge?

 

John 20:24-29

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’

But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ 27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’

28 Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’

29 Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’

 

Thomas is nicknamed doubting Thomas but it seems a little harsh, I’d probably want some evidence too. What jumps out about Thomas?

  • He was so vulnerable, giving up his life to follow Jesus and so he wants to know that this person is Jesus before he is vulnerable again.
  • Quite brave as saying what others are actually thinking but not brave enough to say.
  • He hadn’t seen it first hand, he was wary of the second hand stories.
  • Trying to protect himself and not be vulnerable, but he isn’t cynical.
  • He is doubting Jesus but not written Jesus off completely.
  • We often replicate this in our walk, often praying for God to show up. Trying to be vulnerable in our expectation of God showing up and leading us.

 

Thomas is the kind of guy who wants to experience this, he doesn’t just want to hear it second hand. I want to personally experience and see something to believe in what you are saying. He learns from his mistake – not being around when Jesus came the first time – but he was there the second time. He positioned himself to believe, to receive from Jesus.

 

Thomas is the one who says lets go back to Judea and die with Jesus when it was all kicking off with the crucifixion. He asks inquisitive questions of Jesus. On the one hand he is doubting but on another hand he has a certain amount of faith.

 

How does Jesus deal with Thomas, with regard to doubting and someone who is unsure of his position?

  • He wants to engage with Thomas and Thomas to engage with him.
  • It shows Jesus’ love and faithfulness.
  • Love the fact that Jesus made Thomas wait a whole week!
  • Jesus didn’t criticise Thomas.

 

Jesus has gone through the worst physical trauma that a human could go through and Thomas asks to touch that thing that will bring back both physical trauma, the wounds, the mental loneliness. He lets Thomas puts his finger in the hole where the nail was, and where the hole in his side was. That could be really painful for Jesus and yet he was willing so that Thomas could have a revelation of who Jesus is. Thomas gets to one of the most profound revelations of Jesus in the New Testament through closeness and pain.

 

Reflection

  1. Where in your story have you experienced pain or suffering, and then seen God bring hope and joy?
  2. Who are you leading, who like Thomas, may need to touch that wound, in order to help them believe?
  3. When could you take time to meet with this person for this exchange?